We are living in urgent times, critical times, desperate times.
We are living in times when the watchmen on the wall need to sound the alarm, stir the people of God, warn and exhort, and call to action. Instead, in so many of our churches and on so many of our social media outlets, the watchmen themselves are slumbering and lulling their people to sleep. How, then, can we awaken a dying world?
The truth be told, in church after church in America, in sermon after sermon and in teaching after teaching—on internet and TV and radio and social media and in books too many to count—we hear messages designed to make us feel comfortable, to make us feel good about ourselves, to cause us to sleep. “All is well, little children, all is well!” Where is the sense of urgency?
In June 2019, a Christian publisher asked to me write an article on what I sensed the Spirit saying. I responded with this:
As I pray and ask the Lord, “What is the Spirit saying?” I hear in my own spirit one word: urgency! These are urgent times, contentious times, confusing times. These are times of great upheaval and great opportunity. These are intense times, difficult times, blessed times.
The Spirit is saying “Urgency!”
Unfortunately, the message from all too many of our pulpits is not one of urgency. It is one of complacency. Of comfort. Of personal success.
It is not a message designed to wake up a sleeping Church, not a message designed to prepare for war, not a message designed to challenge and stir.
Instead, while moral confusion and spiritual deception rises, many of God’s people are enjoying a peaceful slumber, lulled to sleep by voices of compromise that refuse to confront sin, that refuse to address the culture, that refuse to talk about divine judgment.
It’s time to wake up!
And I remind you: I wrote this in June 2019, a time that almost seems blissful and calm when compared to the tumultuous months that have followed.
I also cited this powerful quote from Catherine Booth (1829–1890) from her sermon “Aggressive Christianity.” She said:
“Opposition! It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day that it provokes so little opposition. If there were no other evidence of it being wrong, I should know from that. When the Church and the world can jog along together comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong. The world has not altered. Its spirit is exactly the same as it ever was, and if Christians were equally faithful and devoted to the Lord, and separated from the world, living so that their lives were a reproof to all ungodliness, the world would hate them as much as it ever did. It is the Church that has altered, not the world.”
Yet today, in America, unless we push back against the sinful culture, the Church and the world jog together quite comfortably.
But it’s not because we’re changing the world. It’s because the world is changing us. It’s time that we wake up!
Kids are being exposed to pornography at 8 years old.
There are reportedly more witches in America than millennial Presbyterians.
Infanticide is being defended by elected officials.
Divisions are ripping our nation apart at the seams.
And the number of professing Christians in our country is decreasing rather than increasing.
How should we respond?
We live in a day in which, in a figure of speech, America is burning.
We should be burning too.
May God awaken His people! May He set our hearts ablaze. May He share His pain with us.
The Spirit is saying “Urgency!”
Do you hear Him saying this as well?
The Making of a Watchman is a runaway best-seller. Check out our watchman training at www.schoolofthespirit.tv/watchman.
We Are Living in Urgent Times
In the aftermath of the protests and riots of 2020, as some of our cities had literally been set ablaze, I tweeted this:
“I truly believe that if more preachers were on fire then more believers would be on fire and less of our cities would be on fire.”
Do you agree?
I hear voices from the past and from the present, shouting their words of warning, and my own spirit says, “Amen!”
I hear A.W. Tozer saying:
Surely we need a baptism of clear seeing if we are to escape the fate of Israel (and of every other religious body in history that forsook God). If not the greatest need, then surely one of the greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy. But the cross is always the harbinger of the resurrection.
I hear Leonard Ravenhill saying, “We need a trumpet voice again to tell sluggish believers that God requires holiness of His people. There is a famine of true holiness preaching.”
I hear Nicki Cruz saying,
We stink more of the world than we stink of sackcloth and ashes. A lot of contemporary churches today would feel more at home in a movie house rather than in a house of prayer, more afraid of holy living than of sinning, know more about money than magnifying Christ in our bodies. It is so compromised that holiness and living a sin-free life is heresy to the modern church. The modern church is, quite simply, just the world with a Christian T-shirt on!
I believe the Spirit is saying, “Back to the cross. Back to the basics. Back to repentance. Back to truth-telling, however unpopular that may be. Back to the real Jesus and the real gospel.” Is the Spirit speaking this to you as well?
Isaiah 58 begins with the words, “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins” (Isa. 58:1). Similarly, God said to the prophet Hosea, “Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law” (Hos. 8:1 KJV).
Those words, “Set the trumpet to thy mouth,” became the title of David Wilkerson’s 1985 book, a book filled with prophetic rebukes and dire warnings. (I talk about this more in-depth in my book, Revival Or We Die.) Leonard Ravenhill wrote the foreword to the book, which is worth quoting at length:
Dr. [Warren] Wiersbe has given us a lovely book on walking with the giants. Brother David has given us something better than that in this wonderful book, and it is walking with the prophets.
There is probably no preacher in the nation who is more intimate and knowledgeable on the crime and accelerated depravity in the inner cities of our nation, but he skillfully avoids any horrendous statistics on these youth-crippling vices, which is the result of the anemic preaching of the Word of the living God. There is so little preaching of Christ, repentance, and judgment of sin.
What a piercing indictment—the decadent and depraved state of the nation is, in some part, “the result of the anemic preaching of the Word of the living God.”
Often I am asked, Is David Wilkerson a prophet? Well, not in the classification of the Old Testament, but surely a prophet in the bracket of the New Testament. I claim for him that God has made him a watchman unto our nation. My slight contribution to this book is like a man taking a bucket of fire and adding it to a volcano, for this book certainly is volcanic. The author sees the church of Jesus Christ wounded, raped, and robbed; and he blows God’s trumpet to show us the sin and unbelief that caused it.
He has been broken in compassion for the weak and withered testimony of believers today in a world of arrogant heresy and strident cults. I saw him on one occasion stagger into my office, and his lips trembled as he spoke with tears in his eyes, saying, “Len, I hardly dare put on paper and publish what the Lord has given to me.” But he has done this, and I for one am tremendously glad that he did.
These words, too, are jolting—Wilkerson sees “the church of Jesus Christ wounded, raped, and robbed.” How much of this, too, is the result of “anemic preaching”?